- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2016

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S. condemned Sunday’s terrorist attack in Orlando, saying the time had come for unity and solidarity in the fight against terrorism.

Amb. Hamdullah Mohib’s comments came a day after Sunday’s shooting rampage by 29-year old U.S.-born Afghan-American Omar Mateen at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 dead and over 50 wounded. The Pulse nightclub massacre was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Mateen’s father condemned his son’s action, but has attracted scrutiny himself for YouTube videos commenting on politics in his native Afghanistan, including comments some see as sympathetic to the militant Taliban movement.

“We condemn this act of terror and hate,” Mr. Mohib said during a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington, expressing Kabul’s “sincere condolences to the American people.”

With Afghans being “frequent victims of terrorist attacks… it is time to stand united and in solidarity against terrorism” in the U.S., Europe, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

Mateen, who was killed during a shootout with local SWAT officers at the nightclub, reportedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State, or ISIS or ISIL, in a 911 call to law enforcement shortly before the attack. He reportedly has traveled twice to Saudi Arabia, but there has been no known trip to Afghanistan.

Mateen was tagged as a “person of interest” by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 for suspected ties to Islamist organizations. Federal agents closed their inquiry after being unable to establish any connections between Mr. Mateen and such groups.

The 2013 investigation concerned inflammatory comments he made to co-workers about terrorism, and the 2014 probe was over suspected ties to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria on behalf of the Islamic State.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told CNN that his government has not yet been contacted by U.S. investigators about any possible link between the U.S.-born Mateen and Afghani terror groups, saying the early possible linkages had been “extraordinarily tenuous and weak.” He said Afghan authorities did not have much information on the Florida gunman

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